What exactly is graphic design?
Graphic design is the art of skillfully combining the use of text, imagery, color, and flow in such a way as to visually communicate ideas, feelings, concepts, and meaning. At its core, graphic design is a process of visual communication. A designer's arsenal may include typography, color, photos, and illustrations, but it is the combination and layout of them that accomplishes the end goal: to evoke a new understanding, perception, or desire of a given concept.
What's the difference between branding, identity, and a logo?
Although these terms are often used interchangeably, they stand for different, related layers of the same thing: the overall image that a company presents to the world across its various platforms and mediums of communication with its partners, customers, and even its employees. That image can be thought of as the face the company shows to the world.
A brand is the overall perception of a company. As customers interact with your business, what they see, hear, feel, and experience in the course of that interaction all contribute to that perception. Perhaps it even starts before they interact with your business — what's your reputation like?
Market research suggests it takes nearly a dozen positive interactions to make up for a single negative customer experience*. It is critical that every single visual and tangible interaction evokes feelings of positivity: competence, loyalty, quality, etc. All of these will contribute to building consumer confidence in your brand, and building customer attraction to your business or product.
By contrast, every interaction also has the power to confuse, annoy, or even put off the customer if it is sloppy, inconsistent, or sending mixed messages about you or what you offer.
As you can see, it goes far beyond customer service.
Branding is the effort to control this perception through engaging all the customer's senses. A strong brand has a personality, a story, and a point-of-view. Nailing that down as accurately as possible and then remaining consistent is key to effectively communicating to customers what you're all about.
Many different tools may be employed to develop the brand, and one of them is the brand's identity.
Identity is all the visual elements of the brand. This includes the logo, colors, fonts, business cards, letterhead, website, advertisements, signage, and social media. The brand's identity is a big part of how you can control the customer's perception of your company. It is also called an identity system.
A logo is a mark that a company uses to identify itself. The best logos are easily recognizable and, over time, familiar to the eye. It is often the first impression a customer receives of your brand, and therefore incredibly important.
A logo can just be an image (a pictorial or abstract mark), an image and text (a combination mark), or just text (a wordmark or lettermark). Often, a company will have both a combination mark and a pictorial mark which drops the text, and their usage depends on the occasion.